A Myanmar court has sentenced a prominent human rights activist to two years in prison for marching through its biggest city and handing out leaflets that questioned the legitimacy of the country's new, nominally civilian government.

Htin Kyaw passed through 12 townships on his May 5 march to Yangon City Hall, and he has been convicted in 11 of them for disturbing public order. His wife says that with Thursday's verdict, his sentences add up to more than 12 years. He will have to serve the sentences one at a time.

Myanmar emerged from a half-century of military rule in 2011, a government headed by President Thein Sein took over. Though he implemented many reforms, critics say there has been a worrying backslide. Police continue to arrest peaceful protesters.